When Hutch from PlanA Consulting started with working with KILT in 2012 the designer and manufacturer of high-end women's clothing had seven boutiques. Fast-forward to 2019 and this Kiwi owned and operated company now has 16 physical stores throughout the country along with a thriving online shop selling and exporting around the world.
Back in 2012, KILT founder Mel Williams looked to Hutch for general external business advisory support during the process of growing the business and her team. An initial assessment was carried out, which identified a number of opportunities at an internal management level and with respect to KILT's boutique expansion.
Over the years Mel, supported by Hutch, worked hard to realise KILT's growth and establish, define and clarify roles within KILT's core team. Managing the growth meant keeping track of KPIs and paying close attention to financial reporting as the key mechanisms for the company to reach its goals.
In 2015 KILT bought its own manufacturing factory to ensure all its clothing will be manufactured in New Zealand in perpetuity – a big point of difference and one that is well-respected by KILT's clientele.
Over 2018 / 2019 Hutch assisted Mel around the sale of KILT to long-time CFO Victoria Walling and business manager, Lauren Hart. Here's what Lauren and Vic had to say about working with Hutch as they continue the KILT legacy and further cement the label as one of New Zealand's truly great producers of top quality women's clothing.
Well I'm KILT's business manager, which pretty much means I'm across everything. No day is ever the same! I'm focused on making sure the business is on track and the day-to-day activity such as design, manufacturing and logistics are delivering for our stores and customers. Vic is KILT's financial controller (CFO) so she's on top of all the numbers. We work closely together to make sure what's going on within the business, and the KPIs and financial reporting, match up to our 90-day goals and of course the long-term strategy.
Hutch has been working with KILT since 2012 although the company itself has been going for around 20 years. Hutch is constantly keeping us on track by always bringing the conversation and focus back to who we are and where we want to be.
Our quarterly meetings bring in Hutch in a governance role – he's great at seeing the big picture with clarity. Also, during the 90-day periods, he's always available to bounce new ideas off with an ability to help simplify seemingly complex or complicated matters so we can make good decisions.
In the beginning we met monthly but now it's every 90 days. The format has changed over time but in a nutshell every quarter we review the previous 90 days and plan for the next 90 days. Everything is well-documented so we can always review where things are at.
KILT has always used these tools to drive the business forward. Hutch has really helped us keep the key numbers and other metrics front-of-mind by checking in on where things are at during our advisory board meetings and making sure all the numbers stack up as we strive toward our long-term goals.
As anyone who's been involved in the sale and purchase of a business will know, there's a lot of ground to cover to seal the deal and move forward. But because all three of us trusted Hutch 100%, the process was much easier than we expected. He was able to position himself on both sides of the sale while remaining impartial, providing advice as we dealt with lawyers and accountants to get everything signed off. Hutch was also on the end of the phone for our many questions, which was a great resource to have.
That's easy. It's Hutch's genuine and trustworthy nature. He's reliable, his feedback and advice are always well-considered, and he's just an all-round nice guy with a passion for everything business related.
The sky's the limit! We're pretty happy with where things are at to be honest. We'll continue to expand and open new boutiques as opportunities arise. And we're committed to designing and making all our clothing in New Zealand well into the future. That's certainly never going to change!